Friday, June 28, 2013

Movie Review: The Heat

I feel like Sandra Bullock has played this character before, but the addition of Melissa McCarthy (one of Dawn's new favorite actresses) gives The Heat a little extra spice. If you've ever seen a McCarthy movie then you probably know what spice I'm talking about. If you've been under a rock and haven't seen on, well, she's hilarious and you're definitely missing out. 

What makes this movie so good is the action mixed in with the, what I will call, literal comedy. What I mean by that is when Bullock and McCarthy are holding the drug dealer over the balcony to get information out of him, but then they're not able to pull him back up. Another good example, is when Bullock is interrogating a suspect and McCarthy, literally, throws the book and hits the suspect in the face. The whole movie is jammed pack with action and laughs. 

I do have you warn you though. If your easily offended, or not a fan of extreme language ... you may not like it. One of the story lines is how clean cut Bullock's character is, and how "non polished" McCarthy's is. 

I definitely recommend this movie to anyone that wants a good laugh. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Rating System

Since I've been doing the food reviews, and now movie reviews, I thought I should have my own way to rate them. I thought I could do thumbs up or down, but then I'd only be able to do 1 thumb up or 2 thumbs up. I wouldn't be able to hit the in betweens. Then I thought, I can just do stars. You see a lot of 5 star award winning restaurants or movies getting stars from magazines. The more I thought about that, I just didn't want to copy everybody else. 

Then it hit me. I will just stick with the BBQ side of things, and do pigs instead.

I will try to go back and add the pigs to some of the older posts so they'll have ratings, but so you'll know the rating system I've posted them below.

Movie Review: White House Down

Last Saturday, I got suckered into go to Zumba with Dawn so we could get free passes to White House Down. How I got stuck having to work out to see a movie I really wasn’t too thrilled to see in the first place shows you the power of marriage.

I tried my best to go into the movie with an open mind, but I must be honest, we’d already seen Olympus Has Fallen and these appeared to be (more or less) the same movie. Still, I told myself “be open to it, you may like it.” The longer the movie went, the longer I felt like they were ripping off Olympus Has Fallen (or visa versa and Olympus just beat them to the punch releasing it). Obviously, Dawn went into the movie googoo and gaga over Channing Tatum, but she even leaned over once and said “I feel like I’ve seen this movie already.”

Minus the deja vu, again, it was a good movie. It won’t be one I go out and buy the DVD for, but it was a good free movie. The parts that were mirror images of OHF were laced in comedic one-liners. I should have expected it with Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum, but the previews mad it look like a serious action movie. The rest of the auditorium seemed to enjoy the wise cracks a breaks in action, but for me, it just came over cheesy and never really added to the movie.

It wasn’t my cup of tea, but you may still like it if you went to see it so I wouldn’t say it’s a “don’t waste your money” kind of movie. I will say, if you’ve already seen Olympus Has Fallen I don’t think White House Is Down will live up to your expectations.

I give 2 ½ pigs.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A New Addition

I’ve always been a big movie goer, so it just seemed to make sense to add a new little kick here. There’s very few weeks that go by that we don’t watch at least one movie, and some weeks, multiple movies. Everyone is always asking one of us “what did you think about (insert movie title)?”, so I figured I would add movie reviews to mix things up a little bit.

We’ve been able to receive preview screenings on a few different movies lately, so I thought that would be a good opportunity to start with some new movies that haven’t been released. So, I will start doing some movie reviews in addition to the cooks, restaurant reviews, tools of the trade, and other random posts that I tend to make. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Jamaican-Me Hungry ... For A Hotdog

If you missed the post from our Honeymoon, you need to check it out here, so you'll understand the reason for this hotdog the way it is and named what it is.

As most of my "wild" creation dinners go, this is my entry for the "Let's Do the Tubesteak Boogie!" Throwdown on the Brethren. As soon as I saw the title, I knew exactly what I was going to do ... try to replicate the greatest hotdog in the world. 

I took some unseasoned shoe string fries and covered them with Stubbs Chili Lime Spice Rub and Big Poppa Smoker's Bacon and Jalapeno Rub. Dawn had her usual sweet potato fries.

Last year we bought a "meat pack" from Meat Hub, and while I was searching for the fries I stumbled upon these Brats. I'd forgotten those were in the freezer (which is why I keep telling her we need to make an inventory list), so I pulled them out and thawed them out. Dawn stayed with her turkey dogs.

I shredded fresh pepper jack cheese and added a little mozzarella to the mix.  

Everyone always posts pictures of the kids, pets, or other "cutesy" things to get extra votes, so our newest addition to the pig family, Bob, gets his shot in the spotlight.

Once the Bratwursts were cooked, it was time for assembly. The wiener went on the toasted bun, then some pulled pork in sweet BBQ sauce, and then the pepper jack and mozzarella cheese on top. 

This wasn't the Jamaican Hotdog, but this was one of the most flavorful dogs I've ever had in my life. The peppers in the Brats gave it a little heat and the sweetness of the BBQ sauce countered every bite. The cheese ... well ... cheese makes everything better, and the fries were great too. 

I've always bought Ball Park Franks because of the Michael Jordan commercial "It's not Summer, till you've had your Ball Park Franks." I actually have a pack in the fridge now, but I must say, this may be my new "it's Summer now" meal. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival

This past weekend we went to the Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival. Of course, it was originally just for the BBQ competition, but then we found out about the local Arts and Craft shops, and the Classic Car show. I'm not that big into Arts and Crafts, but it's something different to do to kill a few minutes. 

We met up with some friends of ours on Friday night, and rode the motorcycles up to get a preview of the festivities. For me, it was to scope things out for the next day, and to plan my attack. 

Saturday was the fun filled day for me with the Classic Car show, and the filming for the BBQ Pitmaster's Season 5 Grand Championship episode. We got up to the festival around 11, and went over to the VIP area for lunch ... you just can't beat all you can eat BBQ and free beer. 

I didn't get to take a lot of pictures of the different set ups. It seemed like every time I walked through, people were either setting up or moving or tons of people were walking in the way or they were tearing down. 

A couple of my coworkers are big Tennessee Vol fans, so when I saw this pit I had to get a picture for them. It's not my cup of tea, but I have to admit, the pit is sharp. I didn't see any markings/logos, but I'm pretty sure it's a Jambo Pit. Jambo is one of the best looking pits out there, and if they were closer, I would probably own one (the backyard model anyway). 

To add to the irony of me taking a picture of that pit, as the only competing pit I took a picture of, they went on to win the Grand Championship. 

If you want to see the rest of the results, you can see them here

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kickoff To Summer 2k13

When I was growing up, we went to church with a family that used to put on a community cook/get-together every year. There wasn't any fancy invitations or anything like that, it was simply word of mouth and free to any and everyone that showed up. All you had to do was bring a chair to sit in. 

The wife worked with my dad, and they were really good friends, so we were always invited. Her husband had the same name was my first name, so it's no surprise he made some of the greatest BBQ ever. He would do the Que, and his wife, along with a list of her friends, would pitch in on the sides. Unfortunately, just before I got into doing my own BBQ, due to the economy, they've stopped doing the cook outs.

There's no greater way to get to know a person than over some delicious food, and backyard games, so I had the idea to start our own. Now, I don't know that it'll ever turn into the level that they used to have (I'm sure I would be killed if a few hundred people rolled up to our house), but I really hope it can turn into an annual get together over hot food and cold beer.

With it being year one, we weren't sure how many to invite or not invite, or how much food we'd be able to make/have brought. When I first sent the invites we had 70 people (that's not including their spouses or kids). Thankfully, we didn't have that type of a turnout, but did end up with around 20-25 friends, which was perfect.

Dawn and I went to the grocery store a few weeks before the cook, and when she picked up the ad paper we saw that they had their butts on a mega sale (.99 a pound). We bought a chest freezer last year, so I went straight to the back and picked out their 4 largest butts ... hey, I like big butts what can I say ...

Since this was going to be the first time some of these people ever had my BBQ, I had to go with my injection, and my favorite rub (Plowboys, Yardbird).

I have to give credit to Dawn for this one, a few weeks ago I bought a new sauce recipe book, so she asked if I'd want to make a sauce for the cook too. I'd never made a sauce, so I thought why not. It'd be fun to whip a little something up. She found a recipe for a KC style sweet sauce, so we went with it. 

While I was doing the Q, Dawn made some baked beans and bacon mac'n'cheese. She diced up some green peppers, an onion, and some sausage for the beans. 

The day was so hectic between cleaning and cooking and fixing this and then that, so the pictures are a limited. 

Here's how the spread ended up ... 

Before any of you Clemson people give me a hard time about the orange stuff. This is her cookware from Rachael Ray's line, and when she got these 1. we weren't together, and 2. this was the only color they came in ... yes, it pains me every time she uses one.

Dawn's Baked Beans

And Bacon Mac'n'Cheese 

Friends of mine, Heather and her husband Chris, chipped in with some Slaw. Now, I'm not a big slaw fan, but this was actually pretty good. When I say pretty good ... I ate 2 bites. Everyone else that actually eats slaw loved it, so it must have been good.

The mother in law made some potato salad.

And this is one of the four trays of pulled pork. 

For dessert, Brandy made this brownie thing-a-ma-jig.

As if Dawn didn't make enough, she always threw together some home-made strawberry cupcakes.

And, Heather and Chris also made a banana pudding. 

Minus the BBQ, the food turned out to be the perfect amount for all of the guest. The beans and mac'n'cheese were down to less than one serving each, and the banana pudding was almost gone immediately. 

Everyone had a great time, and all of the food was great. The new comers raved about the BBQ, one of our friends claims she doesn't even eat BBQ, but said it was delicious, and everyone that touched the banana pudding said it was some of the best they've ever had.

We've already decided there will definitely be a 2nd Annual Kickoff To Summer. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Breakfast To Die For (Literally, It'll Give You A Heart Attack)

Rut Row, it's Throwdown time again.

This week's Td, as if you couldn't figure it out from the title, is Breakfast. It's basically an open challenge, meaning you can cook anything you want, it just has to be Breakfast related. The real difficulty here, is to actually cook Breakfast outside on the grill/smoker.

Dawn and I bounced around ideas all last week trying to decide what to do. A few months ago, Dawn's Food Network Magazine (that I got her a subscription for, for Christmas) had a cover story for scratch made Cinnamon Rolls. We've been drooling over those for a while, so this gave us an excuse to give them a shot. 

She's also made me create a Pinterest page for the site (if you don't follow me there, please do here). So, I start searching for Breakfast ideas and find a recipe for Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon BBQ Sauce. The pictures looked more amazing than it sounds. 

Then, at work, I'm talking with a coworker that also does a little BBQing, and the idea for smoked eggs gets thrown out. I didn't think I'd be able to really scramble the eggs in the smoker, so I cooked the eggs on the side burner, and then threw them in the smoker with some charcoal and a Pecan log.

Now, for the kicker, I get to take full credit for this one. I decided to make a play on Hash Browns, and made Breakfast HASH-Browns. The basis of Hash is meat and potatoes, so I took breakfast meats (bacon and sausage), mixed in some pulled pork, and then added some hash browns. 

The night before we began the prep for the cinnamon rolls. 

She had to make sure the milk and water mixture was heated between 100-110 for the yeast to activate correctly.

After it sat for an hour or so (which seemed to be a reoccurring step to this process) she started doing whatever it is you're supposed to do to turn it into dough. 

Once we woke up, Dawn started working the dough and turned it into magical deliciousness.

Note the amazingly awesome new knife ... 

While she's making the cinnamon rolls, I start on the Breakfast Kebabs. You cut ham steak into 1 inch slices (the best you can anyway), cut sausage links into 1 inch pieces, and then take a piece of bacon and weave it between the pieces of sausage and ham. 

They went on the grill around 350 (closer to 400) for 45-50 minutes.

While I was out cooking the kebabs and goodies for the HASH Browns, Dawn made the sauce for the kebabs. She just mixed some Memphis Original with apple jelly and ground cinnamon. 

The Cinnamon Rolls needed to cook for 25-30 minutes, so after the kebabs were on for 15, the rolls joined them on the grill. Periodically, I would rotate the kebabs and cover them with the sauce.

Once I had a second to breathe, I had to get Jessica fired up for the eggs. I take the cover off of her, and see this little booger chilling on the bottom rack. I won't lie ... I jumped out of my boots when I first saw him. 

The bacon for the HASH Browns was cooked first, and then I cooked the sausage in the pan with the bacon fat (everything is better cooked in bacon fat). 

Just a little bit longer, and it'll be time to eat. The kebabs have a beautiful mahogany color from the sauce, and the rolls are starting to brown up just a bit.

It's nearly time to eat, so the rolls are off and Dawn whips up the icing for them. She slops it on, and it turns into some ooy gooy wonderfulness. 

No breakfast is completely without a glass of OJ. We have the cinnamon roll, smoked scramble eggs, breakfast HASH browns, and breakfast kebabs. 

So, how did it all taste? The cinnamon rolls were AMAZING, the smoked eggs were ok ... not sure it's going to be something we do often, but it was different. The breakfast kebabs were delicious, and the sauce was KILLER!!!!!. Although the rest of the breakfast was good, the HASH browns was BY FAR my favorite. The thick cut bacon gave it a nice crunch, while the sausage gave each bite a little kick, but the pulled pork with a potato, blew my socks off. 

All in all, this breakfast took nearly 4 hours to make, but it was worth every single second. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again.